Following the news that BT Sport will be rebranded as TNT Sports from July onwards, TVBEurope spoke to analyst Paolo Pescatore to gauge the industry’s reaction.
TNT Sports will launch before the start of the 2023/24 football season and unites the sports rights currently owned by BT Sport and Eurosport under a single offer.
It follows the completion of the 50:50 joint venture by Warner Bros Discovery and BT Sport last September that combines the assets of BT Sport and Eurosport UK.
TNT Sports will present the live sports rights currently carried by BT Sport, while Eurosport in the UK and Ireland will continue to be available before being rolled into the new brand at some time in the future.
Pescatore says the rebrand shows that Warner Bros Discovery is driving the new entity as BT takes another step closer towards distancing itself from the sports business.
“For this reason, there had to be a new brand for the entity as this represents a new chapter,” he tells TVBEurope. “It is a shame given that BT Sport has now become a household established name among sports fans.”
- BT Sport unveils dynamite new name
‘Innovation is at the core of what we’re going to do together’: Execs lay out plans for BT Sport’s future
Key to the new entity’s success will be its positioning and value to subscribers, says Pescatore. This will be helped by its integration into WBD’s streaming platform, discovery plus, which will offer audiences more than the current BT Sport app. “Discovery and the wider company offers a wealth of programming beyond sports,” he adds. “Access to more content with greater value will always resonate with users.”
Adding TNT Sports to discovery plus also puts WBD in a stronger position as it aims to challenge the likes of Sky, which offer viewers sport, films and entertainment via its NOW OTT service, says the analyst.
Making sure that message is received by both current and potential subscribers is something that will need to be carefully managed, states Pescatore. “Both companies have access to a wealth of resources including on-screen talent. Ultimately content and key sports rights will prevail as users will want to tune into those big events and experience it live.”
With the next round of Premier Lights rights due to go on sale next year and reports that DAZN is looking to enter the market, Pescatore believes it will be crucial to all key stakeholders of TNT Sports.
“At a bare minimum, the entity should seek to retain its current package, if not more,” he explains. “There are many variables, including whether there will be a change in packages and potential new bidders. While, the entity is focused on driving efficiency gains, there must be a drive to increase revenue to help fund the growing cost of acquiring sports rights (which will not ease up).”